Caroline Goodwin’s Not, I’ll Not is a haunting poem in three parts which takes its title from Gerard Manley Hopkins’ sonnet about meeting suffering, Carrion Comfort and explores some of the ideas in the psychedelic rock group Heron Oblivion’s song, Beneath Fields.
Not, I’ll Not
Lay a lion limb. Tie up the branch, ask
too soon for the ring or even
for the word. In the rushes, explosions. When
we rediscover one another,
the hill takes on unseemly proportions.
Grows by spreading. By a frond, by
a tower of jewels. At some point, the lobed
or divided leaves of the violet. The loved.
The swarm of blue bottles and even
a cluster of tiny antennae. In the swaying
grasses, I heard all the voices: too late, too late,
too late, the tilting room, the silver anklet.
Feast on thee. All the way to Yellowknife,
all the way to the lake. The word
was awen, the word was fish. I pronounced the word
to you in the musk ox room at eventide,
under the quilt. At YouTube headquarters,
the shooter came out on her knees.
On her curlew, muskrat, bittern, anemone
bulb and fin. When I carry the wooden
bowl, it’s your hand. When I fall, when I
burn out to the rising sun, O Lord,
O flannel shirt, O salmon leather, fireside chat. I’ll be
the one on the sidewalk rolling up the fragrant leaves.
Be heron, be oblivion. Where you at? If I push
the wheel: suffering. If I speak the dreams
of others (others) if I hold you tight and light
up the rose fountain, break the sky?
Will you come to me then, blue skull, be me,
be mine? Indeed, there will be time after dark
for the silver owl, the seawall, green paint. My breath
along the waterway, how it finds you, opens
the pistil and ovary, the ornamental rush. I
am the one you’ve been waiting for.
All this time. I am the pasture and sedge, turning
and turning under the fences, light.